The Edwards 13er Group: Calm Before the Storm

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Trip Report
Colorado, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Oct 13, 2007
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The Edwards 13er Group: Calm Before the Storm
Created On: Oct 15, 2007
Last Edited On: Oct 15, 2007


McClellan Mtn (13587')-unranked
Mt Edwards (13850')- CO Rank 83
Argentine Pk (13738')- CO Rank 131
Mt Wilcox (13408')- CO Rank 315
Otter Mtn (12766')- CO Rank 808

10 miles RT, 4275' gain
From Waldorf Mine (11600')
Participants: John and Renata Collard, Patrick Lilly, Chad Stoltzfus, and Kevin Baker


I have been putting off hiking centennial Edwards for quite awhile and thought doing it in early fall before the heavy snows came would work well. Edwards turns into a long approach in any direction once the snows get deep, and we ended up picking possibly the last day this year to pull off this hike from Waldorf Mine sans snow. John and Renata joined me on this hike along with Patrick Lilly (cftbq) and Chad Stotlzfus from my church.

We met John and Renata at their place in Denver and carpooled to the Waldorf Mine in the Leavenworth Creek basin east of Edwards. Any stock
4WD vehicle should be able to make it to the mine in dry conditions as CR-352 (aka FR 248.1) is pretty mellow.

McClellan & Edwards

We set off from the mine at 7:28am under clear skies. The forecast was looking decent for the day, although a storm was forecasted to begin later in the day.

Early sun on ArgentineArgentine, our 3rd peak for the day, dominates the southern skyline on approach to Edwards.

We followed the road a short distance before heading west up the drainage on Edwards gentle east slopes.

East slopes route on EdwardsThe hike up Edwards gentle east slopes.

There was a thin sliver of snow in the drainage that I got on for a brief bit that we dubbed the Angel of Edwards. I deliberately took a fall to see how far I would slide and went about 6", so it isn't steep! About halfway up the slope Chad decided to make a solo run at nearby Grays and Torreys since he hadn't done them yet, so we gave him a map and parted ways. We angled n.w. to catch the ridge to unranked McClellan and topped out at 9:02. The views over to Grays and Torreys from here are nice.

Grays & Torreys from McClellandNice view of popular 14ers Grays and Torreys from McClellan.

McClellan's gentle south ridge is in stark contrast to its steep west face, which was cool to peer down. After 10 minutes or so on McClellan, we headed south for centennial Edwards, our primary goal for the day. We made quick work of its gentle n.e. ridge and topped out at 9:40. Edwards would be my final centennial for the year until couloir season rolls around next spring.

Edwards from McClellan saddleThe remaining hike to summit of centennial Edwards from McClellan saddle.

It was shaping up to be a nice day as the winds were not a factor and the sun was shining, although we could already see unsettled weather to the west. With over half the vertical done for the day, I had high hopes of making it over to Argentine, Wilcox, and Otter.

Edwards to Otter & Descent

We took off for Argentine at 10:04 and picked up a trail heading down to Argentine Pass. The ridge offered a few minor ups and downs along the way. We went directly over Pt 13449 above the pass to avoid sidehilling on steep talus, which then gave way to gentle terrain onto Argentine's broad summit area. We arrived around 11:24 and it was now overcast with a temp of 40. Argentine was a repeat for John, Renata, and I. I didn't have enough left in the tank to make it over to Wilcox on my first visit in 3/05, but with no snow it looked to be a much easier effort. We were a bit worried about the dark clouds around us, but I hoped that generally you don't see much lightning up high in Oct would hold true.

Patrick decided to call it a day on Argentine, so we gave him John's keys and set off for Argentine. The ridge over to Wilcox is mellow, although there is a nice ridge bump you can climb and peer down over a cliff on.

Argentine-Wilcox ridge bumpCool bump on the ridge between Argentine & Wilcox.

We topped out on Wilcox at 1:02, an hour from Argentine. We kept our stay brief here as we knew snow was on the way. The primary goal for John on the day was mighty 12er Otter, which is a nice bonus peak to pickup when the weather holds. Thanks to John for doing 4 repeats with me! He had been thwarted more than once on Otter due to weather on this seldom climbed 12er. We enjoyed the nice walk over to Otter over gentle, wide open tundra. We topped out on our final peak of the day at 2pm and headed down quick to beat out the weather.

The Sawtooth from OtterThe Sawtooth from Otter.

Instead of descending the basin n.w. of Otter and getting sucked into swampy terrain, we did a descending side-hilling traverse to a shoulder at about 12K' until we could see the mine. We then descended steeply into the trees down to the Leavenworth Creek basin and found remnants of a road that kept the willow bashing and swamp slogging to a minimum. The last 20 minutes of the hike was in snow, but it felt refreshing. We made it back to the car at 3:09 where Patrick and Chad were waiting for us. Chad had been there since noon after a successful trip to Grays and Torreys! A great day to increase the peak efficiency quotient on lists of John!


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